Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins needed for the overall functioning of our body. It is a fat soluble vitamin that promotes calcium absorption, regulates bone growth & muscular rigidity and even plays a vital role in improving the body’s immune function. However, in this time and age most people are deficient of Vitamin D because firstly, the natural sources of Vitamin D are quite rare and secondly, we rarely get ourselves out in the sun which is one of the best natural forms of Vitamin D.
Types Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D exists in two primary forms
Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): This mainly comes from plant sources and fortified foods. D2 vitamins are harder to find and our bodies find it harder to absorb.
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): The D3 vitamin is found in animal sourced foods. Additionally, your skin makes vitamin D3 on exposure to sunlight. If you’re someone taking vitamin D supplements, choose vitamin D3 because our bodies can absorb it more effectively compared to D2.
Vitamin D supplements are usually recommended for people over the age of 65 to prevent the decay of bones and other age related complications.
Sources Of Vitamin D
You can get Vitamin D from natural sources. Some food sources that contain Vitamin D are
- Egg yolk
- Soy drinks
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna & mackerel
Effects Of Vitamin D
The body needs an ample amount of Vitamin D for it’s optimum functioning. However, when these levels are too high or too low it could cause problems for the body as well. An over dosage of vitamin D could lead to the following problems:
Increase in vitamin D can lead to the intestine absorbing significant amounts of calcium. This calcium is released into the body and it causes hypercalcemia. This is a condition where there is a greater calcium density in the blood. This can lead to loss of appetite, high BP, muscle weakness etc.
High calcium levels in the blood cause dehydration. It can lead to polyuria or irregularly large quantities of urine. When an individual passes excessive urine, he/she loses considerable amounts of water and electrolytes which can lead to dehydration.
Hypercalcemia could form small cysts in the body that can cause organ damage and organ failure. Additionally, when calcium gets stuck in the kidney tissues, it causes nephrocalcinosis, which results from vitamin D3 toxicity in the body. The symptoms include
- Severe pain in the groin and sides of the back
High calcium content in the blood can reduce the ability of heart cells to perform. A person with a high concentration of phosphate and calcium develops deposits in heart valves and arteries which can lead to severe heart health issues.
Excessive calcium & phosphate levels leads to the formation of crystals in the body’s soft organs like the lungs. These calcium deposits also known as ectopic concentrations, impair the organ’s functioning.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Just like how excessive vitamin D is bad for you, being deficient of this vitamin is equally bad too. Here are some problems of vitamin D deficiency:
Decreased Bone Density
Lack of vitamin D reduces the amount of calcium in the blood. This in turn makes the bone weaker or brittle which leads to increased bone pain and joint pain conditions.
Deficiency of vitamin D is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. Lack of vitamin D can adversely affect the immunity of an individual, given his/her particular condition. It weakens the body from within and prevents natural disease fighting capacities.
While this is definitely rare, vitamin D deficiency may also be responsible for certain types of colon, prostate or breast cancer.
Our bodies get vitamin D in adequate quantities from natural foods. However, vitamin D supplements may have an adverse effect on you if taken without the consultation of a physician. Also, prolonged vitamin D supplementation leads to increased calcium concentration in blood. This can affect the body’s internal organs negatively and lead to long term problems. If you ever experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, be sure to consult your physician immediately.